I don't think I've ever been so still in my life before. I hold my breath. I freeze. If I could I would still my heartbeat. Lisa too is so quiet that if I couldn't feel her hands I wouldn't know she was there. And in that terrible silence I hear the scrape of claws, the last dying echoes of the Creature's call.
My mind races. I was talking in my sleep. They hunt by sound. It's all my fault. I haven't saved Lisa after all. I've killed her. Her and the baby. I was talking in my sleep. How could I have been so careless? We came all this way...
And one thought above all: don't let it have heard me.
As my eyes accustom themselves to the dark I can make out Lisa's terrified face frozen above mine. I can feel her hands trembling, see the tears glistening in her eyes. I feel in that moment a rush of such painful affection for her, such love, and such shame at how badly I've failed her.
Claws scrape just outside the door to the office. And then in an instant the door bursts inwards and I see the dull gleam of bone white armour as the Creature thrusts itself through the gap. There's no time for thought anymore. Both of us move, scrambling to our feet in the dark. In the dark I can't find the rifle. My hands seize on something that I think is the strap, but as I pull it over my shoulder I realise that I've found the belt of grenades instead. Useless.
And then Lisa screams, and a second later a giant claw as hard as stone seizes me around my middle and lifts me from the ground. My head hits something, and lights explode behind my eyes. I think I lose consciousness for a second or two. The next thing I know I can feel the cold, crisp night air on my skin. The claw is squeezing me so hard I can barely breathe. Fire burns in my head, in my chest. I'm being carried. Like a toy in the hand of a giant I'm being carried away.
Terror like I've never known before floods through me. I fight. Pointlessly, madly, I scratch and punch and kick, but I might as well be trying to hurt a block of solid concrete. Pain flares in my knuckles. I taste blood.
Oh, no. No, no, no. This is it. This is what you've feared all those months. It's real. It's happening. There's no escape.
I hear Lisa screaming nearby. She must be being carried by another of the Creatures.
"Lisa! Lisa! Are you hurt?" I can hear the desperation in my voice.
"David!" She's crying. She keeps saying my name over and over. I don't think she can manage anything else.
"Don't be scared," I yell. "I'm going to..." But I can't say it. I know it's not true. There's no escaping this, no surviving, no rescue.
You should have died the day the meteors came, David. You should never have let yourself believe.
The claw tightens about my middle, crushing my ribs. The thing that's carrying me gives out another, croaking, hissing call, the sound like nails on a blackboard to me. This time the cry is echoed a dozen times over. Creatures all around me in the night. Surrounded. Trapped.
And then I see it come looming into view. There ahead of me, enormous and bloated and alien. The thing that Sven called a Feeder. It towers over me.
And I know then how I'm going to die.